That’s how my good buddy Lesley Balla Editor of Eaterla.com posts the news of openings and closings and what’s hot and what’s not of restaurants in L.A. that seems to fascinate Los Angelenos more than the food.
Except I ain’t revealing any construction photos or sneak peeks… just facts. Or things that might be facts if they turn out to be true.
Encore, the sister property to the Wynn Hotel and Casino, is going up before our very eyes (right beside the Wynn) and is slated to open at the end of this year.
We have it on good authority (in other words: straight from the rumor mill and mouths of people who know people who like to play Deep Throat to my Bob Woodward, except that we like to meet in well lit restaurants and drink good Burgundies when they’re telling me these things and they’re not old white guys who work for the CIA), that Tableau will be closed to make room for Larry Forgione to open another An American Place tucked into its ritzy corner of the Wynn. FYI: I ate at the original numerous times in the ’80’s and ’90’s, and at the re-born AAP in St. Louis earlier this year, and all meals were fabulous. Forgione (who’s son is Executive Chef at BLT Prime in NYC), is truly one of the godfathers of regional American cooking, so this is great news….but I digress.
Tableau’s chef, the ultra-talented Mark LoRusso (KNPR and KLAS TV’s Chef of the Year for 2007), is getting his own restaurant at Encore (no doubt directly as a result of those ultra-prestigious MAJOR AWARDS being given to him), to be called Botero, after the Columbian sculptor of oversized bronzed booties that have fascinated me fo….now I’m really digressing.
Click here to hear my review of Tableau on News 88.9 FM KNPR-Nevada Public Radio.
Moving along; the ultra high-end joint at Encore is tenatively slated to be called VIP 5 (dumb name that…we’re guessing it’s a working title), and will be Italian and small-sorta like Del Posto without the size and the tackiness(!), and blessedly, without Batali. Chef to be named later.
Finally, Encore looks to mark the return of Sam DeMarco! Those who remember the Bellagio opening of Oct. 1998, may recall Sam’s American Grill-a cool and casual spot that featured his avant-garde take on classic American grub, served in what looked like a Flinstone’s cave.
For some reason known then only to the odious folks running the Bellagio F&B (Food and Beverage-all are gone now), DeMarco’s way-cool food was sent packing after only a year or so. FIX now occupies the space. His main man at Encore will be Billy DeMarco (no relation, no kidding). I have it on good authority (the same ones who told me Big Brown didn’t have what it takes in the Derby), that this joint will be called The Garden Cafe(!?)-is that the lamest name in the history of restaurants or what? Again, we’re guessing/hoping it’s a working title.
Let’s also hope someone wakes up and smells the arabica before the signs are hung on these places….’cuz the kitchen talent deserves better.
Now if anyone doubts the veracity of any or all of this report, I hereby give my special Easterbrook Guarantee*- all predictions true or your money back!
*invented by the tastefully named Gregg Easterbrook-a Brookings Institution Fellow and part-time NFL columnist for ESPN.com